November 9 2012 by Crafty Pint
The brewing team at The Monk in Fremantle has a lot going for it. First up, Steve Brockman and Paul Wyman run the team at Illawarra Brewing Company very close for the title of Australia’s tallest brewing team. As well as knocking out some cracking beers at The Monk, they put time and energy into the wider WA beer community, with Steve in particular a driving force behind this year’s WA Beer Week. They’re also official holders of the much sought after title “Australian Brewers Most Likely To Be Held On Suspicion Of Terrorism By US Immigration”.
Despite this busy schedule, they’ve also taken time out to brew a special beer for the venue’s 250th brew. And, what’s more, Steve’s written about it for The Crafty Pint…
The Monkâs Three Fires IIPA
Every now and then, brewers get to make something with no limits. Often celebratory beers, commemorating a milestone or award, these beers represent all the passion, creativity and care brewers put into their beers on a daily basis.
For the brewers at the Monk, when the chance came up for a big beer to celebrate The Monkâs 250th batch, there was little doubt in our minds on the direction: a humungous Imperial IPA. Aiming for an insane 250 IBUs*, we set about working out a way to include the signature ingredients from all of our core beer range.
The result? A massive IIPA, 8.6 per cent ABV, which pours a beautiful amber copper in glass, full of hop aroma and punch..
“Youâre never really sure how such a big beer is going to come out,â says Paul. âWeâre very happy with the result; despite being so big, itâs still very drinkable and we think itâs going to be a big hit with our punters.â
It was a bit of a challenge, however. We had to create a snorkel for our kettle drainage, as we had so many hops in the kettle. In the end the punt paid off, and we pulled it off despite having more than six and a half kilos of hops in the kettle. We also were on boil for 250 minutes, in keeping with the theme, so it was a long, long brew day.
The beer was also community brewed.
âWe felt it was important to make the celebration brew a celebration all the way through,“ says Paul. "So we had some of our Monk regulars, our mates and Monk staff, both past and present, turn up and help out with the brew. Justin Fox (above left with Paul and Steve), the previous head brewer, turned up for festivities, as did Matt Maraninch (The Quarie), and Gerard âMitchyâ Mitchell (Beersine, Five Bar). A few beers were had, people were throwing in hops all throughout, and having a blast.â
The naming of the beer also took on a community approach, with The Monk utilising social media to get their loyal customers to suggest names, and voting on the eventual winning name Three Fires IIPA. The name is taken from the three causes of suffering in Buddhist philosophy â something The Monk says could happen when having too much of the IIPA.
âWe thought the name could be a good fit, as the beer could definitely cause suffering unless drunk in moderation,“ explains Paul. "The huge IBUS and massive alcohol are your first two fires, the hangover the next day would be the third. Because of the alcohol and bitterness weâre serving the beer in 285ml goblets, which help the beer really jump out of the glass. Iâm sure one will be enough for most, itâs an experience for sure.â
The beer is being tapped today to mark the start of WA Beer Week, with Paul keen to thank everyone who got involved in the brew day and Foamy Lens for photos of the day.
*IBUs are International Bitterness Units, a measure of a beer’s bitterness and the 250 figure, says Steve, is “all theoretical of course. Human taste buds blank to and register the same amount of bitterness somewhere past the 120-130 IBU mark.”